What is a protocol for a Cochrane Review?
All research should be carried out according to a predefined plan. Cochrane researchers use the protocol to describe the proposed approach for a systematic review. It outlines the question that the review authors are addressing, detailing the criteria against which studies will be assessed for inclusion in the review, and describing how the authors will manage the review process. Protocols contain information that defines the health problem and the intervention under investigation, how benefits and harms will be measured, and the type of appropriate study design. The protocol also outlines the process for identifying, assessing, and summarizing studies in the review. By making this information available the protocol is a public record of how the review authors intend to answer their research question.